Buying the right BBQ
Every season brings along with it certain joys, and for most Canadians, that joy during the summer is BBQing. Backyard grilling with beers (or lemonade if you’re under 19), while lounging on lawn chairs in flip flops and sunglasses is pretty much the quintessential summer experience.
Buying a brand new BBQ, however, can be a pricey investment and although we all like shiny, new appliances, it could actually be a lot more sensible to look into used BBQs since they’re usually only used during the few months of summer weather we actually have in Canada!
Instead, by going the used-BBQ route, you’ll be able to save your hard-earned cash for new big-ticket appliances you would be using every single day like
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Here are a 3 things to consider in your hunt for the perfect used BBQ:
Charcoal or Gas?
BBQ connoisseurs have long debated which type of BBQ grill is actually superior and what it comes down to is what you prioritize as being the most important features. For taste and authenticity, a coal BBQ is the way to go, but the cons are that fuel gets expensive and it’s not as easy to clean. For convenience and fool-proof grilling, gas is your best bet but it lacks that classic smoky flavor which is especially apparent if you want to grill meat besides hamburgers. You also have to consider the space you’re putting the BBQ into- both the size of the area and whether it’s covered or an open space will impact your decision. If you have a wide-open yard or large patio, your space can probably handle a gas grill and the possible flame-ups (open flames) that flare up from time to time. On the other hand, if your patio is covered in some way either by synthetic materials or trees, a coal grill will be much safer.
It’s easy to get a little carried away and want to buy a fancy BBQ that’s larger than what you actually need. Picture an average meal you’ll be serving from the grill and try to get an idea of how much food you’ll actually be cooking- that will give you an idea of the amount of space you need. All those extra grilling racks and side burners may not be necessary if you’re not often serving meals to big parties all the time.
Since we aren’t likely to be using our BBQs year-round, how easy or difficult it is to take care of the grill during the off-season is very important.
Firstly, for any BBQ, it’s a good idea to purchase a cover for it to protect it from dust buildup, damage from any kind of moisture, and rust.
For a stainless steel BBQ, keeping the exterior shiny and rust free comes from regular cleaning. “Normal” stains can be wiped away with just some soap and warm water, and even when it’s not dirty, the BBQ would benefit from a quick wipe down with clean fresh water. It’s important to make sure you dry the grill’s exterior completely after you’ve finished cleaning it.
For harsher stains that won’t just come off with a quick wipe, stainless steel requires a specific steel wool scrubber that is designed especially to be gentle enough for stainless steel.
As for interior maintenance, the racks, plates and grills need to be cleaned with any type of oil or grease removing cleaning product. As well, to rid the grill of all the leftover grease after you’re done cooking, brush the crumbs and extra bits of food leftover from your grilling and turn the burners to high (with the hood open) for about five minutes.
When looking at a used barbecue, it’s important to take a look to see if the previous owner has kept up with the maintenance of the BBQ. Inspect the interior and exterior for any beginnings of rust, excessive scratches or smells once the BBQ is turned on. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller in what condition THEY purchased the BBQ, what their maintenance routine was, and how often they used it. All these questions will help you make an informed purchase.